Liberal leadership candidates promote federalism
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:57PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 23, 2013 7:38PM EST
The three men competing for leadership of the Quebec Liberal Party says they belong to the only truly federalist party at the provincial level.
The candidates were invited to speak Wednesday morning by a federalist think tank, and all three expressed different views about how to settle Quebec's constitutional issues.
Former Health Minister Philippe Couillard stands out as the only one calling for a reopening of constitutional talks between Quebec and Canada.
He said it's important to deal with this once and for all.
"Quebec has to leave the sidelines and get in the middle of the playing field. For that I still believe that we have to close the loop of 1982 and be sure that Quebec is recognized as it is. Not better, not worse. Just different," said Couillard.
He said it would also be a way to deal with things like senate reform.
Former Finance Minister Raymond Bachand said it is more important to land a deal with Ottawa on health care transfer payments.
As a former sovereignist he says he can persuade nationalists to vote Liberal.
"Most people today are proud of what Quebec has become and it's become that with the same constitution in Canada," said Bachand.
"I think that those that are strong federalists, if I'm the leader, I'm going to rally Quebecers."
Former transport minister Pierre Moreau is perhaps the most unabashed federalist but he sees no reason for renewed constitutional talks.
"I'm truly federalist and I think that we have to make the promotion of what federalism is all about as far as Quebec is concerned," said Moreau.
He feels that people should not be forced to choose between being proud of their province or their country.
"I'm as proud to be a Quebecer as I am to be Canadian and I think there's no contradiction between the two," said Moreau.
The provincial Liberals choose their next leader on March 17, 2013.